Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Rashid Alimov kicked start of the 2nd International Marathon symbolizing solidarity of Organization members in a common cause on December 31.

The competition was held in Kunming, Southwest China.

"I had three feelings.  The first one is when you see the flood of colors, thousands of people from many countries of the world, various religions, cultures and nationalities mixed in one powerful river, the feeling of joy and happiness for this unity of people,” Alimov told TASS.  “The marathon is not merely a sport event - this in an invitation to feel the friend’s shoulder and go together by a path of creation,” the official said.

The second feeling is the enormity of the marathon, its scale and comprehensive nature.  “This is the most picturesque, attractive and emotional event within the SCO framework.  It has no counterparts,” Alimov noted.

“Thirdly, this event cannot be staged without all SCO member-states and it goes beyond the Organization’s range,” he added.

Over 14,000 people from 27 countries of the world participated in the 2nd Kunming marathon,  competing in the full marathon, half marathon, five-kilometer and two-kilometer events..  The event aims at strengthening integration processes and consolidation within the SCO, stimulating cultural and humanitarian development, and promoting greater influence at the international stage.

The 2017 SCO Kunming International Marathon that was held on the shores of Kunming’s Dianchi Lake had two slogans, “Becoming Dearer, Closer, and More Harmonious in the City of Eternal Spring” and “Chasing Dreams to New Heights in Colorful Yunnan

The 2016 SCO Kunming International Marathon reportedly attracted more than 16,000 runners from all over the world.  It was lauded by SCO member states and was recognized by the Chinese Athletic Association (CAA) as both a “bronze medal event” and a “natural ecological event.”

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization now has eight full members -- China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.  Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia are four observer states, and SCO’s dialogue partners include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey.  ACEAN, CIS and Turkmenistan are guest attendances.